HOOT UP FRENCH HALLOWEEN!
PARIS (AP) October 1998 -- Chances are
nobody in France dressed up as Monica Lewinsky this Halloween.
The French have taken up
Halloween with great enthusiasm, filling shop windows with ghoulish
masks and broomsticks, and turning their nightclubs into haunted houses.
But it's not Halloween as Americans know it. Parisians, traditionally
wary of taking inspiration from the United States, have refashioned the
holiday "a la francaise'' -- in French style.
Instead of dressing up as
movie characters or real-life celebrities, people in France stick to the
basics, like witches and goblins. Stephane Collange, a Parisian
accountant invited to an American friend's Halloween party, was
surprised to learn how people get decked out in America.
"You mean Americans dress
up as anything at all?'' he said. "Then it's just a costume party, it's
not really Halloween.''
A few years ago, Halloween
was still exotic here, observed only by American students. Then when
American bars began offering Halloween festivities, it became part of
Paris nightlife. This year, Halloween came fully into the daylight. In
bakeries and stores all over Paris, counters have been covered with
pumpkins, silky spider webs and ghosts, and children's clothing stores
have been full of paraphernalia. Some parents and grandparents grew
tired of opening their wallets.
"It's another import from
America, another excuse to buy things,'' said Louise Delcher, playing
with her four grandchildren in a central Paris park. "Everything has
Indeed, companies said that
this year, Halloween was big business. One Parisian newspaper reported
that the Halloween market in France increased from $1.8 million last
year to $18 million this year.